Workshop Confronting Manageability Paradigm/Actors
Session on Actors
Thoughts on “actors” based on Gudrun’s Pollack presentation, by Christina Tsene
“ Fishing for social realities – problems faced by artisanal crab fishers in reacting to an overfishing crisis”
1. The “play” performed deals with overfishing of crab population. The settings are Cape Horn region in Southern Chile. Several actors are appearing in the situation described:
- crab population: weak position by being threatened of extinction due to overfishing; partially artificially created as strong actors by local society
- local fishermen: serve as employees not owning any boats
- local fishermen owning boats: serve as employers by subletting their boats to individual fishermen
- local authorities: trying managing the balance between fishermen interests and implementation of laws protecting the crab population
- local and international public opinion (acting as one): seeing as an exterior pressure force shaping all actors movements (through dissatisfaction, criticism and opposition, controlling by international laws )
- Gudrun: serving as a scientific researcher, an impartial viewer, having the ability to grow and use power on all actors
2. All actors are related to each other with strong bonds of dependence:
- the focus of the play according to interest and dependence is the crab population.: Although partially artificially created actor, crab population can determine the interests of all actors involved. Crab population strongly depends on every actor involved (simultaneously strongest and weakest actor)
- individual fishermen –labor and fishermen-owners-profit (acting as one): connect their survival with crab population; depend on the local authorities to support their interests contrary to crab population interests (by being forced to implement the law or not)
- labor fishermen depend on the owners in order to keep their labor
- local authorities: depend on the crab population as a means of evaluation of their policies effectiveness on the problem ; probably depend on fishermen-owners in order to maintain economic and political privileges (bribing, reelection)
- Gudrun, as an objective observer has a key role in the play and having a spherical overview of the “stage”: can serve as the “voice” of the crab population by giving out gathered information outside the local cultural and political setting of Chile (crab population depending on G.); local authorities simulating G. with international public opinion and control depend on her positive judgment; local and public opinion depend on G. in order to share her observations on the subject; Gudrun depends on all actors in order to be able to run her project and reach to useful and real conclutions
3. Gudrun depends on her presentation viewer’s reactions, comments and feedback (viewers seeing as actors as well): G.’s presentation viewers depend on her according to the reliability and spherical coverage of the subject
The talk included the following actors: fishers, crabs, academics, authorities, fisher organisations, unions, industry, government.
The most controversial point was the issue whether crabs can be actors and whether it is useful to conceptualise them as such respectively. Gudrun suggested, that they influence the situation and hence can be seen as actors. Is that enough to make them actors? A general question follow on from that: on what does the attribute "actor" depend? Is it the ability to decide - as suggested in the discussion? While discussing these question we ran into both again, ontology and epistemology.
The aspect of asking whether it is useful to conceptualise crabs as actors points us to questions of the meaning of "management" and/versus "studying management". What are the criteria to answer whether it is "useful"? What "use" is of relevancy?
Very general questions, which emerged, were:
- Which structures influence/channel the acting of actors? Is it both believes and physical? What else? What in detail?
- How do actors construe and construct each other?
Other interesting remarks were these:
- Fishers construct themselves as having labour force.
- Is the idea of collapse of fishery "merely" the scientific representation/construction of a catch curve?
- We saw: the neo-classical model of managing resource does not work.
- ethical point: can it be right to manage things/actors?